Don’t ban dogs from nature reserves | Letters

Conversation can be turned into conservation, says Phil Brown . Plus Rob Yorke on the need for honesty about trade-offs between land use and diet choices

Chris Packham is wrong to propose banning dogs from nature reserves (Two hundred ways to save British wildlife, Opinion, 19 September). In fact, the enactment of such a measure would actually exacerbate the problem of dogs and nature by depriving the largest single group of green-space users in Britain, namely dog walkers, from access to countryside awareness.

Instead of a knee-jerk ban, he should consider an effective alternative that balances access with conservation. If he were to visit Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Carlton Marshes nature reserve on the edge of Lowestoft, he would learn how – with its dog ambassador scheme – it has managed to turn conversation into conservation. Through the scheme, Carlton’s dog owners have learned to access the reserve in a considerate fashion that supports the trust’s wildlife conservation objectives.

So, for many nature reserves there is a real alternative to a blanket ban. I would, along with the staff at Carlton Marshes, be pleased to show Chris how this scheme works and share its positive results with him.
Phil Brown
Dalham, Suffolk

• Michael Bunney (Wildlife needs a new plan for agriculture, Letters, 21 September) is spot on to ask that we work better collectively on finding ways to modify our lifestyles, farm affordable food and look after wildlife. There is no easy fix for this “wicked problem”, as in HL Mencken’s “for every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong”.

Being more honest on some of the tough trade-offs in land use and diet choices involved does help us to understand clearly what is required to change in the near future.
Rob Yorke
Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

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